A note from Jesse M., Before I begin the article itself I wish to relay to those reading my thoughts and desires with regards to this series on rebellions and the negative nature of a supposedly beneficial piece of paper. This article and those I will continue writing regarding the many rebellions have been taken sometimes verbatim from the original writings of those involved.
I have spent the greater part of my life purchasing, leasing and borrowing original works printed as far back as the early 1600’s with regards to government and its workings. My current views are held in no small part due to the information and knowledge I have gained from these writings. At one time I had in my possession a large original documents library relating to the rebellion, founding and formation of the United States as a nation. It has since been disseminated among others and places that have more current use for the books themselves. I did over the course of owning these works transcribe, copy and gather the information into a library which currently stands at over 200,000 volumes and is available digitally through myself or any number of other venues.
There is something special about feeling and smelling the thick musty scent of paper that is three hundred and more years old. It is beautiful and awe inspiring to be able to hold actual letters written by men and women long dead now. However, the means to care for these amazing works is not within my current grasp and I have long ago given away most of them as gifts to others. But I digress, lets begin the article with the answer to the question the title poses, and I will attempt to show why I answer in such a way.
The easy answer is NO, only a select few were even invited to the convention whose original intent as advertised was to revise the Articles of Confederation. On September 17th, 1787 the first of a series of conventions were held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The reason for the convention was to revise the Articles of Confederation. This was, however, not the intent of the men in charge of the government at that time. The desire for this document was almost solely held by the elite of society and sadly thanks to indoctrination over the past few decades this document has become far more than it ever really was.
Alexander Hamilton was the initial author of the constitution and had presented it to some of his close confederates with the desire to simply replace what he believed along with his Federalist cronies was a document that did not promote the financial or class based goals of the social elite of that time. In the Federalist XXI (21) Hamilton wrote, “The United States, as now composed, have no powers to exact obedience, or punish disobedience to their resolutions, either by pecuniary mulcts, by a suspension or divestiture of privileges, or by any other constitutional mode.” His goal was to see a bank established exactly copying the British National bank as well as a leadership made up of the social elite.
He writes further, “Impositions of this kind usually fall under the denomination of indirect taxes, and must for a long time constitute the chief part of the revenue raised in this country. Those of the direct kind, which principally relate to land and buildings, may admit of a rule of apportionment. Either the value of land, or the number of the people, may serve as a standard.” His admiration of the ability of the British crown to tax as it saw fit was not limited to the Federalist Papers he wrote, he goes on about the need to impose certain types of taxes against the chief contributors (namely the producers, farmers and other middle class persons) in private communications which can be read in detail by following the attached link. The works of Alexander Hamilton federal edition.
Hamilton passed the original idea of the constitution over to James Madison who quickly amended a few minor details and presented it to the members who had attended the conventions. Of the 70 individuals invited only 39 eventually signed the document itself. The notable exceptions to the signing were Thomas Jefferson, no members from Rhode Island, Thomas Paine, John Adams and a few other notables. The three named were at the time of the conventions over seas as ambassadors or involved in other issues. Hamilton had with John Jay and James Madison pushed for the convention while they were absent with the intention of getting the constitution pushed through in their absence. Unfortunately, and much to Jefferson’s chagrin, they succeeded.
Jefferson was a staunch proponent of individual liberty as much of his writing clearly shows, though he was also a supporter of a a republic in form. Additional reading will shed much light on the real feelings Jefferson had regarding the constitution, The Works of Thomas Jefferson including Letters and Papers. Again it should be noted that many of the delegates became disgusted at the proposed approach regarding government and left or did not even attend in protest. Though some of these individuals were later persuaded through the addition of the first amendments, known as the bill of rights, they were clearly not in favor of the ideas proposed by the Federalists.
Hamilton did indeed desire a democratic republic, and stated so in his letters several times. Specifically found throughout the first, second and third volumes of his work.* It is not my desire to disparage the men personally though Hamilton’s motivations were, although publicly seen as good hearted, meant to increase his worth both politically and financially. It is through the letters of these men, including John Jay and James Madison as well as the many others involved even in the smallest of ways, that I have come to the conclusion that the constitution was not meant to benefit the common men. Rather it was designed to benefit those in power alone.
To have freedom one cannot be taxed or bound under arbitrary laws. To be truly free it is necessary to have freedom absolutely. And as Thomas Paine said and I have re-phrased, Government is always bad while society is always good. The articles I will be writing regarding the many rebellions both great and small that have occurred in this country due to the imposition of the state and its want for more are based entirely on the letters, papers and available documents from the men and women involved. While I may not at all times cite every aspect, I will do my best to provide citations and information that helps those interested in their desire for knowledge and truth.
Thank you again to those who chose freely to read what I write and it is thanks to the generous feedback from many that I have been able to evolve into a more beneficial writer for the cause of individual liberty for all men. Freedom is but a thought away.
Free the mind and the body will follow.
*Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 2.